Known as the last great habitat in coastal south Texas, the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) supports a diversity of wildlife unlike anywhere else in the United States. The refuge is made up of four major units: the 45,187 acre Laguna Atascosa Unit adjacent to the west side of lower Laguna Madre Bay, the 24,808 acre South Padre Island Unit north of the town of SPI, the 21,762 acre Bahia Grande Unit between state highways 48 and 100 about one mile west of Port Isabel, TX, and the 5,250 acre Coastal Corridor Unit.
With the refuge’s primary mission of providing habitat for native wildlife, this nearly 100,000 acres provides for a wide diversity of species. Visitors can enjoy many birds including green jays, plain chachalacas, Harris’ hawks, white-tailed hawks, olive sparrows, Altamira orioles, and aplomado falcons. Fall and spring bring migratory songbirds and peregrine falcons, and winter is the time to see sandhill cranes, white-fronted geese, redhead ducks and many other waterfowl.
Common mammals include bobcat, coyote, javelina, Mexican ground squirrel, and white-tailed deer. More elusive are the endangered ocelot and jaguarundi.
Reptiles include American alligator, indigo snake, Texas tortoise, western diamondback rattlesnake and coral snake. The South Padre Island Unit provides nesting habitat for sea turtles - Kemp’s ridley, loggerhead, hawksbill and Atlantic green.
Visitors can connect with nature through a variety of activities including fishing, hunting, wildlife observation and photography, bicycling, hiking and interpretive tours and programs. A Visitor Center with exhibits, restrooms, and a nature store is available.
For more information, including hours of operation and tour schedules, please visit the refuge's official website www.fws.gov/refuge/laguna_atascosa or call the visitor center 956-748-3607 ext 111. Click here to learn more.